6 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition to the Cloud
Due to the complexity of its networks and the vast amount of data it handles, transitioning a big application to the cloud can be difficult.
“When it comes to cloud adoption, the biggest challenge isn’t technology — it’s the people and processes that must change and adapt,” notes Forbes Technology Council (FTC) member Tyler Shields in Forbes. He feels that younger companies and those with tech innovation test centers will transition more easily than larger enterprise businesses.
According to InformationWeek, the most common challenges for businesses include finding the right cloud vendor, transitioning from years of legacy IT investments and hardware and determining how to best manage cloud resources. For companies planning to move their large applications to the cloud, consider these six tips from cloud computing experts to make the transition smooth.
1. Plan the Move in Advance
Large enterprises often have difficulty determining the best way to migrate massive applications and terabytes of data to the cloud. In addition, InformationWeek notes that many organizations fail to thoroughly research a cloud technology or provider before embracing it. Companies should carefully examine their IT infrastructure, needs and usage to determine the best cloud service. Companies that take the time to carefully plan out the transition are much more likely to experience a successful cloud migration.
2. Prepare Legacy Systems
Rick Costanzo, another FTC member, believes that most companies’ current systems are not cloud-ready, according to Forbes. The biggest challenge, he says, is to connect legacy systems with newer cloud-based business applications. Costanzo advises companies to find hybrid solutions and vendors that can support their migration for short-term to mid-term plans.
According to Datacenter Dynamics, companies may also feel that they need to start from scratch and rewrite the code when moving a legacy application. However, linking technologies means most legacy applications don’t need to be rewritten. Companies can modernize legacy systems over time and gradually move key application stacks while preserving their existing workflow.
3. Consider Time, Cost and Security Challenges
In Forbes, SiteGround’s Ivailo Nikolov explains that moving data is a slow process because it requires substantial bandwidth. Security concerns can also prompt businesses to keep their data on local servers. However, Nikolov believes that managed services can offer more cost-effective services than many companies currently have. Another FTC member, Steven Job, points out that many companies do a poor job of estimating the true cost of service before making the transition.
“Everyone sees the cents per service unit but fails to multiply this out correctly over the length of a month or a year,” Job said. He recommends that companies looking for savings start by migrating the in-house services that they currently use the least rather than the ones their employees utilize most often.
4. Prepare Business Infrastructure
Arie Barendrecht of WiredScore notes in Forbes that when a business becomes more dependent on cloud computing, the technological infrastructure of its workspace is extremely important. Before evaluating new software and storage methods, owners should consider whether their building is equipped for it. Some questions to ask include, “Does it have access to multiple, reliable ISPs? Does it have the necessary redundancies to prevent outages? Does it afford the necessary mobile coverage?”
5. Test Performance Before Transitioning
InformationWeek notes that when businesses migrate their most essential applications to the cloud, they often fail to check how those apps will perform in their new environment. For instance, apps running in an in-house data center can access the company’s full computing power. However, those same apps must share computing resources with other apps hosted on the provider’s servers. It’s important for enterprises to adjust their apps to run optimally in the cloud.
6. Consider Global Implications
Enterprise applications may run within a single geographic region from multiple locations or across the globe. Consumer-focused apps are often used in multiple geographic regions, so enterprises may want to block certain apps for regulatory or security purposes in specific regions. And since multinational companies have offices scattered around the world, they might benefit from distributing apps closer to their points of access.